Is there interference in the 2018 US midterm elections?
WASHINGTON (AP) – When the Justice Department unsealed criminal charges detailing a yearslong effort by a Russian troll farm to “sow division and discord in the U.S. political system,” it was the first federal case alleging continued foreign interference in U.S. elections.
Earlier Friday, American intelligence officials released a rare public statement asserting that Russia, China, Iran and other countries are engaged in ongoing efforts to influence U.S. policy and voters in future elections.
The statement didn’t provide details on those efforts. That stood in contrast with the criminal charges, which provided a detailed narrative of Russian activities. Russian activities have also been outlined in previous criminal cases.
A look at what is known about foreign efforts to interfere in U.S. elections:
WHAT IS THE U.S. WORRIED ABOUT?
The U.S. has a lot of concerns; ballot tampering, hacking into campaigns, open and covert attempts to sway voters.
Friday’s announcement didn’t suggest that electoral campaigns or systems were compromised. Instead, it spelled out a focus on foreign campaigns aimed at undermining confidence in democratic institutions.
The criminal charges detailed how a Russian troll farm created thousands of false social media profiles and email accounts that appeared to be from people inside the United States. While social media companies are making an effort to combat fake accounts and bogus news stories ahead of the upcoming elections, there is a concern from advocates that it may not be enough to combat the foreign interference.